WFFD: Memorial chili cook-off raises ALS awareness, scholarship funds

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The folks with the Wichita Falls Professional Firefighter Association invite the community to take part in 6th annual Kelly Crush Memorial Scholarship Chilli Cook-off on Saturday.

It’s been seven years since former firefighter Kelly Crush loss his battle with ALS, but the WFPFA members are still keeping his memory alive.

“They started the Kelly Crush Scholarship the year after Kelly died, and it goes to just fire department kids, so if anybody on the fire department has a kid and they apply for it they get it,” firefighter Trey Schlegel said.

As a Wichita Falls firefighter and father, Trey Schlegel said he is willing to go the extra mile to help secure Crush’s legacy while also helping today’s youth.

“It feels good it gives somebody the opportunity and chance to get a higher education,” Schlegel said. “It will benefit my kids one day, so I’ll help all I can.”

In 2013, one year after Crush’s death, the Chili Appreciation Society International got involved by organizing a chili cook-off.

“We love helping any of the charities,” CASI Vice President Cindy Noe said. “We were raising funds for ALS at that time, then the next year that Kelly died, then they started the Kelly Crush Memorial Scholarship funds.”

Throughout the years, the attendance at the cook-off has gone up and down due to the weather, but this year, Schlegel said he hopes for a good turnout.

“Honor the family and keep his name alive,” Schlegel said. “Keep the community involved. It’s a great community outreach; we get to see people come up and talk to us—it’s just great to be involved.”

Though that involvement, Schlegel and those with CASI said they are excited to see a big crowd Saturday to remember for one firefighter’s heroic fight against ALS and the awareness he brought to the community.

In 2018, the cook-off raised around $2,700 and the officials said they hope are hoping to exceed that this year.

The cook-off is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. at P2.

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